1. General features

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Medical devices are the most widely used medical products. More than 10 000 categories of devices exist in the world and so have a diverse range of features. Medical devices can be classified according to their uses into the following:

  • diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment or alleviation of disease
  • diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, alleviation of or compensation for an injury
  • investigation, replacement, modification, or support of the body or of a physiological process
  • supporting or sustaining life
  • control of conception
  • disinfection of medical devices
  • providing information by means of examining samples taken from patients (for example, blood tests or biopsies )

In addition, certain products are classified as medical devices in some regions of the world but not in others, and include:

  • disinfection substances
  • aids for persons with disabilities (also called assistive products)
  • devices incorporating animal and/or human tissues
  • devices for in vitro fertilisation or assisted reproduction technologies.